Thursday, March 15, 2018
Why did Mahathir not do all that when he was PM?
Salleh Said Keruak
Yesterday, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said if Pakatan Harapan comes to power in GE14 they will allow more press freedom and will remove laws that restrict freedom of expression. What exactly are those laws that Mahathir intends to remove? And why did he not introduce those changes when he was Prime Minister for 22 years and had the power to do so?
When the New York Twin Towers was attacked in 2001, Mahathir said the Petronas Twin Towers is still standing because Malaysia has the Internal Security Act or ISA and if the US also had laws like the ISA their Twin Towers would still be standing. And when the government wanted to abolish the ISA Mahathir was against that move. So how serious is Mahathir about more democracy for Malaysia when he was opposed to democracy when he was in power?
It was not too long ago that Mahathir said Malaysia is a guided democracy and can never be a full democracy like in the west because of the delicate and fragile racial and religious balance of Malaysia’s population. Mahathir argued that unrestricted freedom of expression would invite racial or religious strife. Therefore the western version of democracy and free speech cannot work in Malaysia. Has Mahathir done a U-turn on that as well?